In elementary school, our teacher once asked the class what we had eaten for breakfast. One little boy announced he had eaten eggs and toast. A girl had pancakes. My sister and I proudly stated that we had eaten caviar. We were reprimanded for “exaggerating.”

The truth is we often did eat caviar for breakfast. Being immigrants from Turkey, it was common to have fish or salty meats with toast and tea in the morning. Perhaps our caviar wasn’t the expensive Russian kind, but we often spread salty tarama, or carp roe, on our toast instead of jelly.

Tant Ida

Tant Ida

Back in the 1960s, Middle Eastern stores carried only the plain, bright orange roe, and my mother would mix it with softened butter to make a tangy spread. Blending oil, lemon and bread with plain roe creates a rich, smooth caviar spread that you can serve to dinner guests with an aperitif before the meal or as a meze. If you’re lucky, there might even be enough left over to spread on your breakfast toast!

In the 1970’s ready-made taramosalata became available in markets. It tastes okay. But this home-made version of tarama which I learned from my dear Tant Ida is far superior in flavor and texture.  The nice thing about making your own tarama is that one jar of plain roe can make up to four jars worth of ready-made spread.

In Turkish we say “Afiyet olsun” or “May it be pleasing to you!”